Church attendance (2): The day is approaching

How does a trip to Paris and Rome verify an old Bible prophecy? And how does that ancient prophecy warn us of an important future prophecy? It all has to do with the fact that “the day is approaching!”

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
(Hebrews 10:25)

Both an external look and an internal look of Hebrews verify that the target of v. 25 was a group of Jews who had converted over to Christianity. These Christian Jews were encouraged to keep up with their diligence to Christ’s church as they saw a particular day approaching in their lives. But what day could that be? It could not be the day of the Rapture as that is coming as a thief in the night and no one but the Heavenly Father knows that day (Acts 1:7).

Then what day could it be? Remember, this book is addressed to a church that was predominately Jewish. It is estimated that the book was written between 64 – 69 A.D. What day of great significance was about to happen to the Jews in Jerusalem near the time of the writing of this letter? What horrific event took place in 70 A.D.? It was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple.

A troubled season

At the time Hebrews was written, a troubled season was brewing between Jerusalem and Rome. In 66 A.D., Jerusalem rioted against Rome and the Judean provisional government was formed. For nearly 4 years after, the Judean rebel factions had controlled the city, but Rome would not tolerate their resistance.

On April 14, 70 A.D., the Romans began to barricade the city. The Roman army was led by the future Emperor Titus. The siege ended in August 70 A.D. with the burning and destruction of the Temple. This was the very same Temple where Jesus had worshipped before His crucifixion. The conquest of the city was complete on September 8, 70 A.D.

God warned the Jewish Christians of this day so they would not be discouraged when they saw their once beloved Temple utterly destroyed before their very eyes. Even though these Christians had abandoned their former worship in the Temple and replaced it with worship in the church, it was still a part of their heritage. Such a shock as seeing this marvelous structure destroyed could shake their faith. Therefore, God prepares them ahead of time through this prophecy and through strengthened church worship.

Now, how does the prophecy of Hebrews 10:25 of a major day approaching the Jews relate to a trip to Paris and then to Rome? It has to do with two very famous monuments they have in the form of arches.

Let’s fly first to Paris

First, let’s fly over to France and have a look at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The day is approaching

This is a very popular attraction for tourists, but why would this verify the prophecy in Hebrews? Well actually by itself it doesn’t. You see, it was commissioned in 1806, after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon. However, what is important is that this arch was inspired by another arch in Rome that was constructed long before it. So let’s leave Paris and fly over to Rome to see this structure of inspiration.

Then let’s fly to Rome

The Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome to this day.

The day is approaching

It was constructed soon after the death of Emperor Titus in 81 AD. The most historically important element of the Arch is the carvings of the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple which include the 7-branched menorah that became the symbol of the State of Israel in 1949.

The day is approaching

Why I point this out to you is to prove that the Bible does not exist in a vacuum. It is not just a book of random stories unrelated to the real world. The Bible stories are affected by real-world historical events, and real-world historical events are affected by the Bible. Don’t believe me? Check out the arches in Paris and Rome, and then take a bonus flight to Israel to check out their national emblem. The day approaching that was prophesied to the Jewish Christians in 70 A.D., is now historically recorded in the man-made aches in Europe.

So, what can we gain from all this?

Currently, we are warned of another day that is approaching. No, we will not see it approach but it is coming, and it will happen. Just as every other prophecy of the Bible has come true in its minutest detail, so will Christ’s Coming for his Church in what is called the Rapture.

Hebrews was given to warn God’s children to stay together and encourage one another in the faith. Even so today, our churches must stay together in the fellowship of God’s Word and encourage each other in the faith. We must continually prepare ourselves for the Lord’s quick appearing. The important question is, are you ready!